Daniel Mark Siegel, or Dan Siegel, is a civil-rights attorney at the Oakland-based law firm, Siegel & Yee, former legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and candidate in the 2014 Oakland mayoral race. He specializes in employment and labor law.
Early life and education
Siegel was born in New York City and raised in New York City and on Long Island. He attended high school in New York, graduating second in his class.
He graduated magna cum laude from Hamilton College (New York) in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Religion.
Siegel graduated from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall in 1970.
Siegel was a student activist in 1967-1970 while he attended UC Berkeley's University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He was also a leader in the local Students for a Democratic Society. As UC Berkeley Student President-Elect in 1969, Siegel is known for his role in the student rebellion on "Bloody Thursday," when thousands of students clashed with hundreds of California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff's deputies sent by the office of then-California governor Ronald Reagan to assert control over a piece of property known as "People's Park." During a rally on Sproul Plaza on that day, May 15, 1969,Siegel received the microphone as the crowd of 3,000 agitated to reclaim their community space, and when he yelled "Take the park!" a riot ensued that ended with authorities firing at demonstrators, killing one.
State Bar of California controversy
Upon receiving his J.D. degree from the University of California School of Law in 1970 and passing the California bar examination, Siegel was denied a license to practice law by a subcommittee of the State Bar of California. He appealed the subcommittee's decision, taking his appeal to the California Supreme Court, which overruled the State Bar and found that Siegel possessed the requisite "moral character" to practice law.
Siegel & Yee
Today, Siegel is a civil rights attorney at the Oakland-based law firm, Siegel & Yee. In recent years, he has won a series of high-profile sexual harassment and employment discrimination lawsuits, and has represented clients such as the National Union of Healthcare Workers. He has served as both general counsel and Interim Executive Director of the Pacifica Radio Foundation, and has served as a director on both the Pacifica National Board and the Local Station Board of KPFA-FM in Berkeley. In 2006 he completed an eight-year tenure on the Oakland Unified School District Board of Directors.
City of Oakland
Siegel, a long-time friend of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, served as her Legal Adviser until November 14, 2011, when he resigned in protest. Siegel subsequently announced, via Twitter: "No longer Mayor Quan's legal advisor. Resigned at 2 am. Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators."
The San Francisco Chronicle described Siegel as "one of Oakland's most active and vocal police critics".
On January 9, 2014, Siegel announced his candidacy for mayor of Oakland.
Siegel and his wife, Anne Butterfield Weills, have lived in Oakland since 1977. Weills is an attorney who is listed "of counsel" at Siegel & Yee. Their son, Michael, is also an associate at Siegel & Yee. Weills' son from a previous marriage, Christopher Weills Scheer, is an author and journalist.